On 5 September 2014, I had the honour of being a Fashion on the Field judge at Wyong Race Club. My fellow co-judge Neil Grigg, pictured with me below, is one of Sydney’s best milliners and has many celebrity clients. The three categories Neil I judged were Best Dressed Female, Best Dressed Male and Best Millinery. Prizes included a trip to the Gold Coast (for the Best Dressed Female), Westfield gift vouchers, De Bortoli Wines, gym membership etc.
Female contestants came from the Central Coast, Sydney and Canberra to compete. The standards were high and it was hard not picking some female contestants. You could see that they had put a lot of effort into their outfit. It reminded me of the many times I had put so much work into an outfit and got nowhere. I was not surprised that the girls who either won or were runner ups (who wore the same outfit at Rosehill Racecourse a week later) were also successful in getting into the top ten for the Fashion on the Field competition at De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose Day. In the end, Neil and I picked the girls who we thought were the best and our decision was unanimous. The girls who won were the ones who not only had an amazing hat and dress, but had put a lot of effort in getting appropriately matched shoes and accessories. The female who won Best Dressed Female was Courtney Doyle and the female who won Best Millinery was Viviana Parish.
For the male contestants it was another story. They were local Central Coast males who rocked up to the racecourse not knowing anything about a Fashion on the Field competition. When they found out, they entered with their friends for a laugh. When they won, and the prize included alcohol, they could not be happier. I remember giggling to myself when we took the winners and runner ups into the VIP marquee, and the winning male and the runner up male contestants approached the promotional girls to tell them about their good fortune and show off their spoils. You could tell that they were having a good day.
As for the expression on our face when we were judging, I look like I am cringing and Neil looks like he is alarmed. I do not know why we have those expressions on our faces. All I remember is that I kept on checking each girl’s outfit over and over again while she was on stage to make sure I picked the best one. The photo is by Wyong Race Club.